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The Friscay Studio in Budapest is equipped with Genelec 5.1 Smart active monitors. (Photo Credit: OperaCafé)

Genelec Monitors For Hungarian State Opera’s New 5.1 Studio

The Friscay Studio in a large-scale converted space in Budapest incorporates 8341 three-way coaxial monitors and a 7370 subwoofer in the control room run digitally via a 9301 multichannel interface.

The new Eiffel Art Studios in Budapest, housed in what was once the country’s largest indoor railway complex that’s been transformed into Eiffel Art Studios now serving as the Hungarian State Opera’s new logistics and art center that includes recording studio equipped with Genelec monitors in a 5.1 configuration.

The decision to build the facility, called Friscay Studio, was an unusual one for a venue like this, but the reasoning came from the devastating effects of Covid-19 on Budapest’s recording studios. In addition, the faclility gives the State Opera the opportunity to create exactly the space it needed, resulting in a large-scale recording complex where changes could be made from any area.

“That’s why it was a great idea to make a studio of this unprecedented size in Hungary,” explains Kondás Ferenc from the Hungarian State Opera. “We’re now able to record from each room in the studio. The studio has been designed so that you don’t have to go down to the big room for minor sound corrections. So, if a correction to a vocal or instrumental performance is needed, it’s happening right there. Or if an advertising voiceover or narration needs to be recorded, it’s also happening there – we wanted everything to be easily accessible.”

The recording space os equipped with five Genelec 8341 three-way coaxial monitors and one 7370 subwoofer in the control room, run digitally via an 9301 multichannel interface. Additionally, a pair of 8040 two-way monitors are used with an iMac for quick recordings in the control room, while another stereo pair of 8040s are employed in the live area by the conductor and musicians when required.

GLM calibration software was utilized to individually optimize the 5.1 monitoring system in the Friscay Studio for different listening positions. “We measured using GLM in three different places; in the sound engineer’s position, in the musical director’s position, and in the place where the composer or conductor would be listening,” Ferenc adds. “The conductor or composer can’t fit with the score beside the sound engineer, so they sit behind them, and that’s why this third set-up was created. In the studio we’ve created 2.0 and 5.1 settings in GLM, but for recordings and live streams we normally use the 2.0 setting.”

A studio of this stature in a busy city presents challenges, particularly when there’s a two-way tram track that runs directly outside the building. “The hardest part was finding a solution for the low frequencies, and having trams run outside puts us at a disadvantage,” Ferenc notes. “Luckily, the team at our acoustic consultants Arató Akusztikai Kft solved this problem by building a ‘box-within-a-box’ system. Under the inner floating floor is a rubber layer, and the inner light structure wall is fixed to the main wall with vibration isolation elements. As a result, this building system excludes the noise of the road and trams.”

The end result has been met with approval from both the install team and musicians: “Even the conductors were surprised to feel the effect of what they were doing on the podium, and they could genuinely hear the result of their baton!” says Ferenc. “The composers also heard more of their pieces than when they played the score in their mind and imagined how it was going to sound. But everybody was satisfied – one of the lead singers said that when he listened to his microphone played back, he could not only hear it perfectly, but he could also feel every vibration.”


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